On Friday night, June 24, the New York State Senate passed a bill that legalizes gay marriage in the Empire State. Governor Andrew Cuomo quickly signed it into law, which will go into effect in 30 days. LGBT activists in California and elsewhere quickly responded to the news.
"We are beginning to see the dark walls of discrimination crumble," said Chad Griffin, co-founder of the American Foundation for Equal Rights, the Los Angeles-based organization that's spearheading the federal Proposition 8 lawsuit.
"Today, we're celebrating Pride with a bit more dignity and a bit more equality," said Robin McGehee, director of Get Equal, a Fresno-based gay rights group, "but tomorrow, we have more work to do. We hope you're up for it, because we definitely are!"
"The fight for marriage equality has been an ongoing battle," said California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, who, as the mayor of San Francisco, allowed same-sex couples to obtain marriage licenses in that city in 2004, "but one I believe we should never stop fighting."
He continued, "On this historic day, we honor all the same-sex families in New York who now have an opportunity to participate in something many of us take for granted: to have their commitment and love recognized by the state they live in.
"But at the end of the day, this fight isn't just about the actual rights that come with marriage, this fight is about achieving the dignity that comes with being legitimately recognized as full and complete citizens."
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Richard Socarides, president of Equality Matters, a Washington D.C.-based gay rights group, said, "This is an important, historic victory. It shows that bipartisan consensus is possible when there is strong political leadership and people of good faith on both sides who are willing to listen and learn.
"Combined with last year's repeal of don't ask, don't tell, the message is clear: the end of government-sanctioned gay discrimination is near. It is a triumph of basic fairness, for individual liberties and for all loving and committed New York families."
Stuart Gaffney, media director of Marriage Equality USA, said: "New York legislators have reached across the aisle so that loving, committed same-sex couples can walk down the aisle and finally live their happily ever after. We look forward to the day when Proposition 8 is struck down for good, so that we can truly have marriage equality from sea to shining sea."
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